Everyone has noticed their grocery bills creeping up, and cleaning products are probably one of the least enjoyable things to be spending your hard-earned cash on.
They're not cheap either – the price of multi-purpose sprays, toilet cleaners, wipes, sponges, scrubbing brushes and associated cleaning paraphernalia can quickly add up. The household cleaner market generates more than half a billion dollars in revenue in Australia each year, after all. That's a lot of money being spent on sprays and wipes!
The household cleaner market generates more than half a billion dollars in revenue in Australia each year
To add to the mess, our expert testing at CHOICE finds that some of the pricier products aren't even that effective, meaning you could be pouring your money down the drain.
So which cleaning products really scrub up in our tests? And which will offer you the best sparkly bang for your buck? Here we look at the best value performers in our latest cleaning product tests, and give you some tips and advice on how to keep those cleaning costs down.
What are the cheapest and best kitchen and multi-purpose cleaners?
Every year, our CHOICE experts put a huge selection of multipurpose sprays to the test to find out which are worth spending your money on.
The prices of the multipurpose cleaners we test range from 24c per 100ml for the Aldi Power Force Pro Multi Purpose cleaner up to $2.11 for the Earth Choice Cove Surface cleaner. The performance of each of the sprays varies.
Our top performer in this category, the Nifti All Purpose cleaner, scores an impressive 90% and sits somewhere in the middle of the price range, costing $4.40 or 88 cents per 100ml.
But if you're after a cheaper cleaner that still performs well, Windex Surface and Glass Floral is the one to add to your shopping basket. It offers the best balance between cost and performance, setting you back $4.80 or 64c per 100ml, but with a great performance score of 88%.
A kitchen cleaner that can get the job done with minimal effort is probably top of most people's cleaning supply list. But with prices ranging from 60c to $2 per 100ml for the products we tested, it's wise to find a product that not only works, also but does so for the cheapest price possible.
Our top performer in this category is Dettol Healthy Kitchen at 90c per 100ml and a CHOICE Expert Rating of 90%.
But, for a better balance between cost and performance, try Jif Power and Shine Kitchen. It costs 71c per 100ml and scores just one percentage point less at 89%.
Natural cleaners: The cheapest and the best?
If you're really looking to save, making your own kitchen and multipurpose cleaner is definitely a cost-savvy option, not to mention that homemade, natural products are much kinder to the environment.
You can make up your own cleaning products with minimal fuss by using some simple ingredients. There are many home recipes with ingredients such as bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), white vinegar, pure soap, borax or lemon juice. You may need something more to cut through (for instance) soap scum in the bathroom, which is where a store-bought cleaning product is a good option.
What are the cheapest and best bathroom cleaners?
We recently tested more than 30 bathroom cleaners and found some great-value options worth adding to your cut-price cleaning arsenal. Prices for the products we tested range from 0.17c per 100ml to $2.04 per 100ml. This means you could make some serious savings by switching to a cheaper but better performing product.
The cheapest top performer in our test is the Dettol Healthy Clean costing 90c per 100ml. It scored an impressive 90% when our testers put it to work scrubbing off soap scum from some tiles.
High performers – at half the price
But there are products that scored almost as high that cost half the price, which can help you save on your shopping bill.
Coming in at a cost of 33c per 100ml and scoring 88% (which means we recommend it) is the Community Co Clean Freak Bath and Shower Cleaner.
Notable mentions also to the Aldi Power Force Mould Away, which costs 52c per 100ml and scored 86% (also recommended). And the Woolworths Strike Bath and Shower Cleaner, also costing 33c per 100ml, and scoring 83%.
If those savings aren't drastic enough for you, there's another option from Aldi to try – and as an added bonus, it's plant-based! Aldi's Green Action Bath & Shower Cleaner costs just $1 (17c per 100ml) and scores an impressive 80%.
What are the cheapest and the best toilet cleaners?
In happy news for budget-conscious cleaners everywhere, our top scorer in this category is also the cheapest – Aldi Power Force Bright & Clean Oxy Thick Toilet Gel, which scores 75% (our top score) and costs $2.19 / 31c per 100ml.
It's less than half the price of our other top scorer, White King Toilet Gel with Added Stain Remover.
Other toilet cleaners range in costs from 29c per 100ml to $1.68 per 100ml for the Ecostore Antibacterial toilet cleaner.
More tips to save money on cleaning supplies
- You don't need to spend money on a specific spray for the kitchen, windows and other surfaces – one good multipurpose spray will do the job. But you'll probably need a special cleaner for the bathroom to cut through the extra layers of grime and scum.
- Think twice before spending money on a mould cleaner. Commercially available mould cleaning products may look like they're doing the job, but it's probably an illusion. Most of them use bleach (often listed as sodium hypochlorite) as an active ingredient. But the concentration of bleach in these products marketed as 'mould killers' is often five percent or less. Bleach has a short shelf life and loses potency quickly, so if products have been on shelves for a long time, they become even less effective.
- Stop buying paper towels and expensive 'wipe' products. You can use reusable rags and sprays instead for a fraction of the price.
- Try using a natural homemade cleaner for lighter cleaning jobs. It's much cheaper and better for the environment.
- Reuse items around the house for cleaning instead of buying fresh supplies – old toothbrushes are great for scrubbing fiddly bits on taps, and stovetops and used dryer sheets can be repurposed as dust cloths or wipes.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.